Best Practices: Get your storage management group up and running


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Almost every company I deal with is working on standardizing storage (and backup) management under a single umbrella. But for various reasons, most haven't gotten far. If your organization wants to move to a storage management group, but you're not sure how to get it there, consider this step-by-step approach.

Step 1: Evolve and specialize
Let's get this out of the way up front: You're understaffed. Every IT group I've seen has too few people expected to fill too many roles. But another organizational problem is even worse: Expecting a staff of generalists to emerge as IT heroes.

Technology is too complicated for anyone to understand it all. And storage is too different from servers and applications to be a part-time focus. Most generalist administrators choose what they want to work on, or they're deflected by the inevitable crises that plague IT infrastructure. In the worst cases, entire IT staffs run about like Keystone Kops chasing after the same problems.

The biggest loser, as always, is backup. Failing to protect data can go unnoticed or ignored for months at a time, as long as there isn't an incident requiring a restore. So assessing the coverage and success of backups often ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.

The time is ripe to build an organization of specialists. Your existing staff probably already has the skills to manage the current environment, if only they were allowed to focus on it. You

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probably already have a guy who knows all about EMC Corp.'s Symmetrix or a gal who works with Veritas Software Corp.'s NetBackup. Let them be the seed employees for your new storage management group.

This was first published in October 2004

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